Exova has expanded its fatigue testing capabilities for composite and metallic materials to growing customer demand–particularly from the aerospace sector.

During the last quarter of 2010 three servo hydraulic test frames were acquired and commissioned at its Bridgwater, Somerset, site.

Following a successful audit in March 2011, Exova was awarded UKAS accreditation for a range of composite and metallic international fatigue standards, meaning Exova can now officially begin to carry out fatigue testing for its customers.

The Bridgwater laboratory, which works for aerospace primes including Rolls Royce, Airbus and GKN Aerospace, has plans to increase capacity further in the future.

Exova Bridgwater specialises in the testing of composite materials, with core services including mechanical, physical, metallurgical and failure investigation.

Peter Allen, general manager of Exova Bridgwater, said: “The expansion of our in-house testing capabilities offers customers a full suite of tests across all techniques and material types under one roof.

“This is an important development for Exova, and forms part of the Aerospace division’s long-term strategy, which includes plans for further expansion of our global testing facilities and capabilities in the future.”

Current capacity of the new frames is up to 250kN in tension and compression each with integrated strain and temperature monitoring. The frames have initially been set up with a bias towards flat samples which lend themselves to composite testing.

Complementing existing capabilities the initial projects are making use of the established machining, tabbing and impacting facilities already at Bridgwater by testing ‘fatigue after impact’ test specimens at various R-Ratios on CFRP. A single and double lap shear program is also utilising the large capacity grips, which enable gripping of considerably thicker samples.